Which Is It: Fault Tolerance, High Availability, Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery?

If there are any four terms that are most often mistakenly used interchangeably, they are Fault-Tolerance, High Availability, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.  Cloud computing services can be most effectively used to achieve all four, and a fundamental understanding of the differences can help improve your planning!

The First Distinction

The first distinction between the four is that the first two, fault-tolerance and high-availability, are IT terms.  Though some may consider fault-tolerance to be a marital metric, it really describes the level to which any fault may be compensated for in an IT system.  High Availability is the highest possible level of fault tolerance in which there is no tolerance for fault.  Every component of the system has a redundant twin that can be failed-over to instantly.  So high or full availability is a level of fault tolerance, but not all fault tolerance provides high availability.  Why?  Because high availability generally comes with a much higher price that some may not be able to tolerate.  Usually through no fault of their own.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery include IT measures, but go far beyond that to describe levels of strategic operational planning.

A Good Plan for Bad Times

While a high availability or any fault-tolerance planning is done at the network design level, both Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning are done at the strategic operational level and may include elements in the network design.

Disaster Recovery plans are developed so that everyone knows exactly what to do to help the business recover in the aftermath of a major catastrophic event.  Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and acts of war have all caused major corporations to either activate their disaster recovery plans or deeply regret not having one.  IT elements include having recent off-site stored backups of all data available for restoration once a new data center has been established.  The more recent, the better, meaning that the planning, scheduling and rotation of data to offsite facilities is an integral part of a good disaster recovery plan.

Business Continuity planning is much more granular.  A business continuity plan becomes most necessary when even brief lapses in operation could be threatening to the continued existence of the enterprise.  Highly transactional environments almost always require a business continuity plan.  It’s much more granular because measures need to be put into place at multiple levels.  For example, in the IT planning, redundant servers, redundant storage, even redundant data centers may be required to provide high enough availability to support true continuity of the business.  Anything that could fail needs to be backstopped.  Even personnel and physical premises!  Alternate people and places may need to be designated for people to work in should a true calamity befall the operation.

You can already see why people try to use these terms interchangeably.  To preserve and sustain true continuity of business operations may require high availability, which is a level of fault tolerance, and the ability to recover from disaster almost instantly.

Take it to The Cloud

You may be unsure of just how much you need to invest to achieve the level of resilience that is appropriate for your business.  You don’t want to overspend, but you don’t want to underprotect either.

Take this question to your CloudStrategies Advisor!  They’ll help you analyze and assess your operations to determine what kind of planning and implementation is prudent for you.  They’ll help you build your strategic operational plans while also showing you how to reduce the costs by leveraging highly effective cloud strategies.  By doing so, you may find yourself able to afford more protection from disruption than you thought possible!

Private CloudStrategies: Replace Your Space With RackSpace

  • Get out of the Data Center business altogether!
  • Take Advantage of Available Expertise!
  • CloudStrategies helps you select the best private cloud solution

Last month in the CloudStrategies Newsletter we proudly announced that CloudStrategies had joined the RackSpace Partner Program as a Platinum Member. This month we focus in on exactly what that means to you as a CloudStrategies client!

Rackspace HostingThe World’s Leading Specialist in the Hosting & Cloud Computing Industry

Quite a boastful claim, but we joined the program because we believe that RackSpace is indeed the world’s leading resource for private cloud strategies!

Private cloud holds the promise of getting your company completely out of the data center business. It’s not what you do for a living so why should you be investing so much time, effort, energy, and expense on it?

RackSpace offers a wide variety of flexible programs which gives us the latitude to finely tune your solution to suit your needs precisely. Do you have a wide variety of line-of-business applications that each need tender loving care? We can address that. Want to provide all of your people with the best possible secure access to all of your enterprise data assets wherever they may be? RackSpace has great solutions there too. This creates a tremendous “toolkit” that offers you a broad selection of highly powerful information management tools that are all hosted by RackSpace, eliminating the need for you to worry about their continued operation. That’s the promise of private cloud!

Private Cloud strategies hold the promise of dramatically reducing your CapEx and OpEx spend this year while delivering much higher service levels with greater assurance of data integrity, security, compliance, and continuity of business. That’s a powerful combination.

Explore your private cloud options with CloudStrategies and let us take you on a comprehensive tour of your best options. You’ll know where and what the savings and advantages are before you take a single step. Be sure to review RackSpace’s Tips for Evaluating Private Clouds and contact CloudStrategies today at 973.115.9321 or info@cloudstrategies.net.

Managed HostingThe Rackspace CloudRackspace Email & Apps

RackSpace Tips for Evaluating Private Clouds

  1. How Secure is Secure?
    First, define and identify what’s mission-critical to you. If your data and apps have to be as secure as possible to meet compliance requirements or your own high standards, Private Clouds are ideal. The inherent security that comes with a dedicated, single-tenant environment is a pivotal reason to choose a private cloud. What’s more, you can add additional security services like Intrusions Detection Systems and dedicated firewalls.
  2. The Speed and Size to Scale
    When it comes to on-demand and unlimited scaling, the Private Cloud has one limitation to consider. It’s not major, but something you should look into. The number of VMs you can provision and deploy will be limited by the physical hardware running behind your Cloud. You can of course still add computing power by expanding your configuration. It just won’t be as fast and seamless as a public cloud. So ask yourself how fast do you need to scale-instantly or fast?
  3. What to Run and Not Run on our Managed Private Cloud
    Basically, you can choose to run most anything you want on a Private Cloud. But you might not need or want to run everything, in all honesty. It might make more sense to run your databases on a traditional managed hosting configuration or use a CDN enabled cloud storage solution for your files or you can create a hybrid hosting solution that mixes and matches Private Cloud, public cloud and Managed Hosting to create a master solution that fits your requirements nicely. The point is you have options.
  4. Virtualization Expertise Not Needed
    If you want to take advantage of the benefits of a Private Cloud, but don’t have the skills, time or desire to mess with provisioning VMs or managing the hypervisor, outsourced Private Clouds are generally the way to go. Just make sure the provider you choose actually supports the virtualization layer for you as well as the operating systems that reside on each VM.

More Reasons to Move IT to the Cloud

 

  • Spend less on daily operations
  • Spend less on capital equipment investments
  • Enjoy better service

Some people are just never satisfied! …and you should be one of them!!!

Enjoying better service while spending less money short and long term are good reasons for migrating to cloud computing. There are others!

You Can Go Your Own Way

Users and their managers are discovering the incredible productivity gains that can be achieved when work can be done equally well no matter where the user may be. With cloud computing almost nothing gets in the way of achieving a consistent and robust user experience. Handheld, laptop, tablet, desktop, it hardly matters anymore. If the user is comfortable with the keyboard, keypad, or whatever other input device is offered, the device can access the same resources with the same facility. Everything is where the user expects to find it, so there’s not a lot of time lost hunting for files, documents, or other tools and resources. Since that hunting has the biggest lost-time impact on remote users, eliminating it with cloud computing strategies increases the comfort the user has in using any device over any network to run pretty much any application on any platform from anywhere and at anytime.

Cloud Photobar

Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

One of the classic questions salespeople from all industries like to ask their customers is “What is keeping you up at night?” Seldom do information technology (IT)salespeople hear responses having to do with the performance of hardware or software. More often, IT managers are worried that some person did not do something they were supposed to do

Data Backup

Data Backup Assurance

In an on-premises network a quality data backup system depends in part upon people to rotate backup media, test restore, and perform other routine tasks. If media are not rotated, the result can often be lost data. Over time read/write heads can become misaligned causing the device to misrecord new data backups, or rendering it unable to recover old media. This virtually NEVER happens in a cloud-computing environment where there are redundant backup systems behind the redundant backup systems and all are managed by someone other than you, giving you recourse in the completely remote case that something does go wrong.

 Time Travel

Time Travel

Yes, there is even time travel in the cloud.

Think about the last time you saved a file and, just after you clicked “save” realized you meant to do a “save as” and change the name. Now you’ve clobbered one of your most valuable files. What to do? Reach out to your cloud data backup provider and “dial back” in time to a point before you clobbered your file. Then just restore that one file locally. Problem solved.

Security& Compliance

Security & Compliance

These will continue to be two of the concerns everyone expresses and argues about when discussing cloud computing for some time to come, but common sense suggests the argument is empty. Why would corporations as large as Microsoft, IBM, Google, Oracle and others risk their businesses with such enormous investments in cloud computing if they weren’t absolutely certain that customers could be confident that the security and regulatory compliance achieved in their Cloud Computing offerings was superior to what customers could achieve themselves?

Growth Capacity

Growth Capacity

When a network manager convinces their company to make large new capital investments, those investments, and the anticipated return on those investments, become theirs to justify…forever. The next time there’s a need to expand, scale, extend or otherwise grow the network any additions will be considered, while replacements could be career threatening.

In a cloud computing environment the need to grow is fulfilled by simply requesting more capacity. No new capital procurement, and no forklift replacements. Just throttle up for more capacity. Investment worries are gone.

CloudBreakingNews: CloudStrategies Enters RackSpace Partner Network as Platinum Member

CloudBreakingNews

January 30, 2011-Morris Plains, NJCloudStrategies, LLC., the leading provider of cloud-technology-based business solutions, announced that they will be entering into the Rackspace Partner Network as a Platinum member.

Rackspace HostingCloudStrategies delivers top-quality guidance to customers, helping them develop the most effective strategy for increasing IT service levels and reducing costs,” said Christopher Rajiah, director of channel sales, Rackspace. “We look for synergistic relationships with industry leaders like CloudStrategies that enable us to add greater value to our customer base and sustain our ongoing commitment to Fanatical Support.”

Fanatical Support® has made Rackspace the world’s leading specialist in the hosting and cloud computing industry, delivering enterprise-level hosting services to businesses of all sizes and kinds around the world. Founded in1998, Rackspace has since grown to serve more than 100,000 cloud computing customers. Rackspace integrates the industry’s best technologies for each customer’s specific need and delivers it as a service via the company’s commitment to Fanatical Support. Core products include Rackspace Managed Hosting, The Rackspace Cloud™ and Rackspace Email & Apps.

“Rackspace Hosting is an ideal partner for us,” explained CloudStrategies CEO Pete Zarras.  “Their broad scope of services add great flexibility to our ability to recommend the best solution for our customers.  From public to private cloud strategies, Rackspace provides excellent alternatives delivering top-quality in every service.  That’s important to CloudStrategies.”  Zarras also added, “We’re especially proud to have been invited into the Rackspace Partner Network as a  Platinum member.  This is wonderful recognition of our leadership role in helping customers select the best possible solutions, and our ability to coordinate provisioning and delivery of those services to everyone’s satisfaction.”

No More ServersRackspace Hosting is the world’s leading specialist in the hosting and cloud computing industry, and the founder of OpenStack, an open source cloud platform. The San Antonio-based company provides Fanatical Support® to its customers, across a portfolio of IT services, including Managed Hosting and Cloud Computing. In 2010, Rackspace was recognized by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as a Top 100 Performing Technology Company and listed on the InformationWeek 500 as one of the nation’s most innovative users of business technology. The company was also positioned in the Leaders Quadrant by Gartner Inc. in the “2010 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service and Web Hosting.”

About CloudStrategies
CloudStrategies, LLC. helps business decision-makers to make the most effective decisions to dramatically increase IT service levels while reducing short-term capital investments and long term operating expenses by leveraging the best cloud-computing strategies available.  The CloudStrategies Team combines years of experience integrating on-premises solutions with high-level relationships with the leading providers in the growing cloud-computing industry.  CloudStrategies is a top-tier Microsoft Gold Certified Cloud Champion and a Platinum Partner in the Rackspace Partner Network.  For more information visit us at www.cloudstrategies.net.

What are the Differences Between Public and Private Clouds

Public CloudsYou’ve been using “public cloud” services for years.  Basically, when you use a service over the internet you’re using a “public cloud” service.  Here are some of the more obvious characteristics:

  • You’re accessing the service via a browser.
  • You know you’re connecting to some data center somewhere, but you really don’t care where it is.
  • You can access the service from anywhere that you connect to the internet and lately you’ve noticed that you can access it just as easily from your handheld smartphone as you can from your iPad, your laptop, or your desktop computer.
  • While many other people may use the same service, your use of it is “private” to you and your company, and you can add company members simply by signing them up for the service.

 

Private CloudsTake a walk down to the room where your computer network servers are set up.  Look at all the servers, network storage cabinets, data backup devices and everything else you’ve bought to run your business network.

Think about the next time you’re going to have to invest to upgrade (replace) all that equipment.  Think of how much you’re spending on electricity, air conditioning, the room itself and the people you have on staff that have to spend their time making sure all this stuff keeps working.

Now think about how nice it would be to have someone else taking care of all of this stuff.  You know you need it, that it helps you run your company more profitably, but wouldn’t you prefer if someone else was running it all for you?  And if they could give you better service from all of it and cost you less, wouldn’t that be nice too?

Welcome to private cloud computing.

With a private cloud, all of the servers that support your business are located in a professionally operated data center where that’s all they do for a living.  Backups?  They take care of that.  Firewall?  Their responsibility, and they sign guarantees on that.  Need more capacity?  Simply request it with a click of your mouse.  Support for popular and proprietary applications.  Your data center, just not on your premises.  Less expensive, better service, quality support.

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